Last week, it was announced that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre received a grant for its upcoming production of Henry V. It was one of 42 nonprofit, professional theatre companies to receive grants from Arts Midwest to perform Shakespeare for students through Shakespeare for a New Generation.
Shakespeare for a New Generation introduces middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare for a New Generation has benefitted more than 2.25 million individuals, including 1.9 million students, with live performances and educational activities. These awards mark the tenth consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the only performing arts organization in Arkansas to receive this year’s Shakespeare for a New Generation grant. The Rep will stage Henry V in September, offering the production to more than 20 schools through student matinee performances over a three-week run, reaching more than 1,500 students across Arkansas. The Rep reached more than 5,000 students last season through its Student Matinee Program.
This is the third Shakespeare in American Communities grant for Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The Rep was one of only seven theatres selected for the NEA’s inaugural program, staging Romeo and Juliet in 2004. The Rep then mounted an educational tour of The Comedy of Errors across the Mississippi Delta region in 2006.
“This Shakespeare in American communities grant allows us to expand the educational outreach component of our new season’s first Mainstage production,” says Bob Hupp, Producing Artistic Director for The Rep. “Shakespeare’s Henry V is both thrilling and poignant; the themes of the play: the quest for power, the cost of war, the price we are willing to pay for what we believe is right are as relevant to us today as they were 400 years ago.”
“Henry V is politics, it is history, it is the human condition in extraordinary circumstances,” says Hupp. “To be able to explore these ideas with students across central Arkansas is a central objective of our work this fall. We look forward to bringing The Rep’s first foray into Shakespeare’s history plays to vivid life for audiences of all ages, and especially, with the help of this important grant, to enriching the experience for young audiences through a greater understanding of the creative, historical and cultural context of the play.”
Actor Tom Hanks, who is featured in the program’s educational film “Why Shakespeare?” says, “When I was introduced to Shakespeare in American Communities more than 10 years ago, I recognized its potential, given how important Shakespeare’s work was to me when I first began acting. However, I couldn’t have anticipated the incredible, widespread impact it’s had on students across the country. I commend the NEA and the participating theaters for their commitment to sharing Shakespeare’s legacy with future generations.”
Each of the 42 participating theater companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to at least 10 schools. Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions.
“Arts Midwest is thrilled to celebrate the tenth year of this remarkable program,” said David Fraher, executive director of Arts Midwest. “Shakespeare in American Communities has been incredibly successful at reaching young and diverse audiences across the nation and we are pleased that we can engage so many talented theater companies this year.”
Ninety-four theater companies across the United States have taken part in the NEA’s Shakespeare program since its inception ten years ago. These companies have presented 30 of Shakespeare’s works through 7,000 performances and 17,000 educational activities at more than 5,500 schools in 2,800 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
About Arts Midwest
Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six
nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, visit http://www.artsmidwest.org.
About the NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit arts.gov.
About The Rep
Founded in 1976, Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state’s largest nonprofit professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT D), The Rep has produced more than 280 productions, including 40 world premieres, in its historic building in downtown Little Rock. Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp leads a resident staff of designers, technicians and administrators in the creation of seven or more productions for an annual audience in excess of 70,000. The Rep produces works that range from contemporary comedies and dramas to world premieres and the classics of dramatic literature. For more information, visit http://www.therep.org.
2012–2013 Shakespeare in American Communities Selected Theater Companies
- A Noise Within (Pasadena, CA)
- The Acting Company (New York, NY)
- Actors’ Shakespeare Project (Somerville, MA)
- Actors Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, KY)R
- African-American Shakespeare Company (San Francisco, CA)
- American Players Theatre (Spring Green, WI)
- The American Shakespeare Center (Staunton, VA)
- Arkansas Repertory Theatre (Little Rock, AR)
- California Shakespeare Theater (Berkeley, CA)
- Classic Stage Company (New York, NY)
- Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX)
- Denver Center Theatre Company (Denver, CO)
- East LA Classic Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)
- Epic Theatre Ensemble (New York, NY)
- Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre (Fairbanks, AK)
- Folger Theatre (Washington, DC)
- Georgia Shakespeare Festival (Atlanta, GA)
- Geva Theatre Center (Rochester, NY)
- Hartford Stage Company (Hartford, CT)
- Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (Cold Spring, NY)
- Idaho Shakespeare Festival (Boise, ID)
- Indiana Repertory Theatre (Indianapolis, IN)
- Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (Bozeman, MT)
- Nebraska Shakespeare Festival (Omaha, NE)
- The Old Globe Theater (San Diego, CA)
- Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR)
- Park Square Theatre Company (Saint Paul, MN)
- The People’s Light & Theatre Company (Malvern, PA)
- Portland Center Stage (Portland, OR)
- Saint Louis Black Repertory Company (Saint Louis, MO)
- San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (San Francisco, CA)
- Seattle Shakespeare Company (Seattle, WA)
- Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, MA)
- Shakespeare Dallas (Dallas, TX)
- The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane (New Orleans, LA)
- Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, DC)
- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison, NJ)
- Theater for a New Audience (New York, NY)
- Touchstone Theatre (Bethlehem, PA)
- Utah Shakespeare Festival (Cedar City, UT)
- The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (Topanga, CA)
- Yale Repertory Theatre (New Haven, CT)